According to the National Retail Federation’s October survey, consumers plan to spend an average of $967.13 on the holidays this year. With so much money being spent in such a short period of time, it’s the perfect opportunity to start teaching your kids money-savvy skills. Here are a few ideas to get started.
1. Wishing Doesn’t Make It So
Making a wish list is a time-honored tradition. Sites like Amazon make it even easier, though they can also make it seem like wishing alone is enough. Adding a dollar cap to the lists helps kids learn to prioritize needs from wants—and their wants from their whims.
2. Have a Plan and Hold Them to It
When you’re a kid, it can seem like there is always money available for needs and wants. An age-appropriate discussion of where the money to pay bills comes from and how you decide what to spend it on can help lay the groundwork for their own decision-making later in life. One way to help them understand that spending involves choices is to provide them with money for their own holiday budget to be spread across gifts for their siblings and friends. A budgeting app like Mint.com can help older kids keep track of their spending, and limit overspending, on the gifts they buy.
3. A Deal is A Deal
Perhaps you and your kids have agreed to extra chores as a way of earning holiday spending money. Work together to establish a list of tasks, assign a monetary value to each one, and then only pay when that chore is completed. In other words, don’t prepay or pay for work that doesn’t get done or isn’t done to your standards. Apps like Allowance & Chores Bot and Bankaroo can be particularly helpful in allowing kids to visualize their saving and spending activities.
4. Resist Coming to the Rescue
As hard as it may be, do not bail out your kids if they go off budget. Instead, discuss the decisions that led them to the predicament and how more responsible choices could have resulted in a better outcome. Then, help them identify a remedy. Whether it is making homemade gifts for the rest of the people on their list or doing extra work around the house to earn more money, find a way you both can feel good about that allows them to succeed.
5. Foster Appreciation for a Bargain
Once kids are responsible for their own money, they may have a better appreciation for what they choose to spend it on. Often, children lock in on the first thing they see. Instead, encourage them to pause, do research on the best prices (both online and in stores) before buying, and get in the habit of reading reviews by other shoppers.
Finding other opportunities to get your kids invested in their financial future can arise throughout the season. From having them figure out the tip while out for a special meal to hunting down free shipping promo codes for your online purchases, they can learn money lessons that will endure far longer than the holidays.